Spanish Windtorte

windtorteSo I decided to have a go at the technical challenge from this week’s GBBO, all very last minute and rushed (slightly cheating because it’s all normal meringue but here it is in all it’s sugary glory. It’s made with traditional meringe, 50g sugar to 1 egg whitewith an extra 50g of sugar so in this case 6 egg whites to 350g sugar, I made the base and top first, then the 3 rings for the sides. The remaining meringue I used round the edge, my oven was too hot initially hence the darker coloured top, I cooled itdown to finish the sides so they are a better colour. Inside is a strawberry and cream filing.windtorte2

 

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Plaited Cranberry Bread Wreath

wreathThis week the contestants on the Great British Bake Off tackled bread. I haven’t seen the episode yet but from the trailers it looks challenging to say the least. Show-stoppers were bread sculptures which are very impressive but I’m not sure how practical it would be to make one at home. So this week my take on a show stopping bread was to remake the Cranberry wreath bread which I made at Christmas. It tastes amazing with home made cranberry sauce and baked Camembert. I took a picture of the base to show the plaiting on both sides however sadly it’s a bit blurry. You can find the recipe here.  

wreath base

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Black forest cake

cake 4The Great British Bake Off stated again this week and as (almost) always the first week was cake week. There were Madeira cakes, Walnut cakes and Black Forest Gateaux. When thinking which I would make I wanted to try something a bit different to my normal safe recipes so I decided to use a recipe from Mary Berry’s Ultimate Cake Book (which she signed for me at Cake International) and try her Black Forrest Cake which is a fatless sponge made by whisking the eggs and sugar together before folding in the flour and cocoa powder very carefully. I adapted the recipe slightly as I didn’t want to put Kirsch in a cake that my kids would eat so I made a cherry Jam of sorts with Glace cherries, cherry cordial, water and jam sugar, boiling the mixture at 105c for 4 minutes before leaving it to cool and set. 

I increased the cake mixture by half to give 3 layers of sponge and filled with cherry jam and cream. For the top and sides I made dark chocolate ganache and coated the sides in dark chocolate chips. Cream, cherries and a candle completed the look and I had my very own black forest gateau. For any gaming fans out there you may have spotted that it is in fact the Portal Cake. (Portal is a game where a deranged computer promises you cake as an incentive to complete increasingly difficult logic puzzles).

cake 3portal cake

We are big fans of portal in this house and in the past I have also made Companion cube biscuits and The Cake Is a Lie birthday cake.

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Summer fun with the Co-operative food and More drinks

bouncy castleDon’t ask me how it happened but this year I somehow ended up as chair of the PTA at my children’s school. The first big event that we’ve run was a Summer Fun Day (a Summer Fete by any other name). There were bouncy castles, a BBQ, activities and bar. We chose the Saturday before the end of the summer term and hoped for good weather. The week before had been the hottest of the year and the Friday was beautifully sunny so it was looking good, however on the Saturday it was cloudy grey and eventually rainy. We managed 2 of the 3 hours we had planned for the event before we accepted defeat in the rain. We were very lucky to be supported by The co-operative food and More drinks.

The co-operative provided us with bread rolls for our BBQ and also with a fabulous hamper of prizes for our raffle, including 2 delicious cakes (Passion fruit and coconut and Strawberry), 2 bottles of wine, fresh strawberries and a bottle of Prosecco (which I love).

Co-operative food hamper

The other company who kindly supported us was More Drinks – a company who make delicious flavoured waters for kids and grownups. My absolute favourite is the blackcurrant and blueberry one which also has vitamin A for healthy skin and vision.  I love the idea of water that also helps get those important vitamins into my kids. The children’s bottles have sports caps to stop spillages from distracted small people, however there’s no reason kids couldn’t also try the other flavours.

more drinks 1 more drinks 2

In spite of the rain the event was really successful and raised lots of money which will be used to improve the grounds of the school for children to enjoy.

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The Minions are coming!

FullSizeRenderWe love minions in this house. they’re cute, immoral and great for a cuddle. If they were really wandering around looking for a new evil master to serve I’d probably try and get them to come and live with me. Do you think they’d be good at doing the washing up?

On June 26th the new Minions movie hits cinemas with Stuart, Bob and Kevin going in search of a new evil master and it’s going to be EPIC!!

Whether you’re going out to find your new liege lord of heading to your local cinema you’re going to need something healthy and packed with goodness to give you the energy for your quest. In this house that means pizza. Made from scratch pizza. Easy peasy made from scratch pizza actually.

To coincide with the launch of the Minions movie Green Giant Sweetcorn have challenged bloggers to come up with a minion inspired recipe so her is my Minion Pizza.

Minion Pizza
Yields 2
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Ingredients
  1. 250g Strong white bread flour
  2. 4g Fast action yeast
  3. 5g salt
  4. 1 and a half tablespoons Olive oil
  5. 150ml Water (room temperature)
  6. 2 - 3 table spoons passata (per pizza)
  7. 250g Grated mozzarella
  8. 1 can Green Giant Sweetcorn
  9. 1 slice honey roast ham
  10. Handful of frozen peas
Instructions
  1. Place the flour, salt, yeast in the mixing bowl of a stand mixer and stir together.
  2. Add the olive oil and water and knead with a dough hook for 5 minutes using the stand mixer.
  3. Cover the bowl with cling film and leave to prove for about and hour or until the dough has doubled in size.
  4. Preheat the oven to 220c
  5. Split the dough in two and roll out into two pizzas.
  6. Spread the passata over the pizza
  7. Sprinkle the cheese over the passata
  8. Use the ham and peas to make the minion eyes and mouth
  9. Use the sweetcorn for the yellow colour
  10. Bake the pizzas in the preheated oven for 10 minutes or until the base is crisp and the cheese melted.
Mummy makes cakes http://jaisee.com/mummymakescakes/
This post is part of the Tots 100 Green Giant Minion Challenge

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Magic Squares Playdates

eating1We were recently asked to organise a playdate involving the new range of Petits Filous yoghurts called Magic Squares, a combination of either raspberry or strawberry and vanilla. My kids have been learning about 2D shapes so we had a tea party with different shaped food. Triangle sandwiches, circular carrots (just cut them into slices instead of sticks) and squares in the yoghurt. My two monkeys loved identifying all the shapes and changing them. “look  mummy it’s a semi-circle” while eating half a carrot slice. The yoghurts were a big hit and I’ve been asked to get them “All the time”.

I even had a sneaky try of the Magic Squares myself and they were a nice mix of flavours, I haven’t had much of a lookin though as they are being requested regularly as desert – only beaten as current favourite by chocolate cake.

This post is an entry for Britmums #MagicSquaresPlaydates Linky Challenge Sponsored by Petits Filous

hands2 handsopening2

eating2

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No Bake Baileys and White Chocolate Cheesecake

Baileys cheesecake4I can hardly believe that we’ve already reached May, the sun is shining, our plum tree is flowering and it seems the perfect time to get together with a few friends to enjoy being “Ladies that Lunch” while our little ones are in school. It doesn’t happen very often, with jobs and younger children to work around but when we can get together we like to have a grown up lunch date with good food, good company and a few grown up drinks. I hosted this time and as well as a buffet style lunch I decided we deserved a special treat so I used some of the gorgeous Baileys Liqueur which I’ve been sent to whip up a super easy no bake cheesecake.
Baileys cheesecake7I made this cake in the morning, it took maybe 30 minutes to mix up plus chilling for an hour afterwards. The white chocolate blends perfectly with the flavour of the Baileys and the addition of a little milk chocolate to the glaze gives it a beautiful two-tone effect.

Find the recipe below and some step by step photos at the bottom of the page – enjoy!

 

No Bake Baileys and White Chocolate Cheesecake
Serves 8
Incredibly easy no bake cheesecake with Baileys, White and Milk chocolate.
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Prep Time
30 min
Total Time
1 hr 30 min
Prep Time
30 min
Total Time
1 hr 30 min
Ingredients
  1. 300g Digestive Biscuits (crushed)
  2. 150g Unsalted Butter (melted)
  3. 500g Mascarpone Cheese
  4. 450ml Double cream split into 200ml and 250ml
  5. 100g Icing sugar
  6. 250g White chocolate - split into 200g and 50g
  7. 60ml Baileys Irish Cream (equivalent to approx 1.1 units of alcohol)
  8. 50g Milk chocolate
Instructions
  1. Grease and line the base of a 9inch / 23cm round tin with greaseproof paper.
  2. Crush the digestive biscuits either in a blender or by hand.
  3. Melt the butter in a saucepan over a low heat - remove from the heat before the butter is fully melted and stir with a wooden spoon until completely melted.
  4. Tip the crushed biscuits into the pan with the butter and stir to combine.
  5. Push the crushed biscuits into the 9inch / 23cm cake tin to form the base of the cheesecake - smooth to the edges of the tin and push down with a palate knife or the back of a metal spoon to form a firm level base.
  6. Place the tin in the fridge to set the base while you mix the cheesecake.
  7. In a large bowl combine the mascarpone, Icing sugar and 200ml of double cream, stirring until you make a smooth mixture. Don't over mix as this can curdle the cheese.
  8. Place the remaining 250ml of double cream in a separate bowl then melt 200g of the white chocolate either with 10 second bursts in a microwave (stir between each burst) or in a bowl over a pan of hot water.
  9. Stir the 250ml of double cream and 200g of white chocolate together to form a ganache.
  10. Add 2/3 of the white chocolate ganache to the cheesecake mixture and mix until smooth.
  11. Remove the base from the fridge and spoon the cheesecake mixture on top, smoothing out to the edges of the tin. Make sure it goes right to the edge so that when the glaze is added it will stay on top and not seep down the sides.
  12. Wipe round the top of the tin with a damp cloth to remove any stray cheesecake mix before making the glaze.
  13. Add 60ml of baileys to the remaining 1/3 of white chocolate ganache.
  14. Melt the remaining 50g of white chocolate and stir this into the Baileys mixture to thicken it slightly.
  15. Pour a 1/4 of the Baileys mixture into a cup / jug and place to one side.
  16. Melt the 50g of milk chocolate and stir into the remaining 3/4 of the Baileys mixture.
  17. Pour the milk chocolate Baileys ganache onto the top of the cheesecake to form a smooth glaze. You can use a toothpick to pop any bubbles that appear.
  18. Take the white chocolate Baileys ganache that you put to one side earlier and place it in a piping bag with a writing nozzle (a sandwich bag with a corner cut off works too).
  19. Make zig-zags with the white chocolate Baileys ganache over the milk chocolate Baileys ganache.
  20. Wipe round the top of the tin to remove any excess ganache.
  21. Pace in the fridge to chill for at least an hour - you can even make this the day before and leave overnight.
Mummy makes cakes http://jaisee.com/mummymakescakes/
Baileys Cheesecake Collage
This is a sponsored post & I was sent a bottle of Baileys for the purposes of creating this recipe. Other recipe ideas for baking with Baileys can be found on the recipe page of the Baileys website.

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Thomas Land at Drayton Manor is better than ever!

Rosie and other enginesDrayton Manor in Staffordshire is one of our favourite places to visit in the holidays. My son is a huge fan of Thomas the Tank Engine so the fact that Europe’s only Thomas Land is found there has us going back again and again. This week we were lucky enough to be invited to the press launch of the expansion to Thomas Land. As part of Drayton Manor’s 65th anniversary celebrations a £2.5 million extension to our favourite part of the park has been unveiled, increasing Thomas land by 40% and introducing new rides featuring Flynn the fire engine, Captain the life boat and Toby the tram. My kids had a fabulous tie going on the new rides and watching the performers there to celebrate the opening. My son’s loved firing the water cannon on Captain’s Sea Adventure and both children wanted to fly with Jeremy again and again in his new location right outside the Sodor Airport function rooms and cafe. The fat controller has a brand new statue sheltering under an unbrella from a fountain and there are fairground style games to play too.ThomasLandCollage

In celebration of the 65 years since the park opened there are some great offers available including a family day pass offering a family of four entrance to the park and access to all of its attractions for just £65 when booked seven or more days in advance or if individual tickets are more appropriate by booking seven days or more in advance you can take advantage of the following great discounts; adult (12+) tickets at £20, children (aged 4-11), grandees (60+) and disabled visitors and their carers priced at £15.

The exclusive anniversary offers throughout the 2015 main season and provides a whopping 55% saving, compared to on the gate prices.

Tickets can be prebooked online at http://draytonmanor.co.uk/tickets-and-prices

ThomasWe had such a good time that we even made a cake to celebrate – this Thomas the tank engine cake is really simple to make for a birthday party or jut to please your little Thomas fan. The full recipe and tutorial are available at modernfamilybaking.com

About Drayton Manor

Drayton Manor Theme Park Ltd, opened to the public in 1950 by the Bryan family, is one of the UK’s most popular family attractions with over one million visitors a year. George and Vera Bryan OBE, converted 80 acres of derelict land, which once belonged to Sir Robert Peel Bart; MP & PM to Queen Victoria and his family, into today’s wonderful multi award-winning family attraction, combining thrill rides with a conservation zoo plus catering and conference facilities.

1950-Chair Swing 5Today, Drayton Manor Theme Park, still family owned and run by second and third generation family members, covers 286 acres of beautiful woodland and countryside and features some of the wildest and scariest rides around. Rides include: Roller-Coasters – Shockwave, Ben 10: Ultimate Mission and G-force.  Major rides: Maelstrom, Apocalypse and Storm Force 10, our wettest ride. It is home to the hugely popular Thomas Land™ featuring many named Thomas & Friends™ character rides for the children and adults alike. Thomas Land™ at Drayton Manor is the only one of its kind in Europe.  The park’s 152 seat 4D Cinema and over 50rides and attractions makes for an truly unforgettable day.

A four-star Hotel onsite featuring 150 rooms includes Thomas & Friends™ themed rooms all sleeping four to six guests, family rooms, executive rooms and presidential suites. It also features two well stocked bars, two sublime restaurants, a relaxing lounge, large conference room for functions and exhibitions as well as an idyllic wedding facility for up to 400 guests.

 

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The Co-operative #GoodBake event

me3Last week I was lucky enough to be invited along to an event in The co-operative’s food development kitchen at their head office. In as session led by Great British Bake Off finalist Luis Troyano a group of food bloggers got to bake Chocolate, hazelnut and orange tarts topped with a cointreau cream.

The event was part of The Co-operative’s new campaign to get more of us Brits baking. They have recently launched a new and improved range of baking products from ground almonds to chocolate chips. The Co-operative is aiming to be the one stop shop for home bakers. You can find recipes (including one from yours truly) and more information at The Co-operative Food website.

Luis kindly gave us the recipe for the delicious tart we made on the day and so I’m also going to share it with you. It is a really simple recipe using ready made pastry and other easy options.

Luis Troyano’s Chocolate Orange and Praline Tart

This is a quick and easy tart to make. There is no blind baking of the pastry required.

A round shortcrust pastry tart filed with a chocolate orange hazelnut frangipane. Topped with a whipped liqueur cream, candied hazelnuts and sliced oranges.

You will need a 23cm loose bottom tart tin greased and lined with non stick baking parchment.

groupFor the tart filling

250g Ready made short crust pastry

120g Chocolate hazelnut spread (warmed slightly in a microwave) slit into 80g and 40g portions

125g Unsalted butter (softened)

125g Castor sugar

2 Medium eggs (beaten)

1 tablespoon plain flour

Grated zest of 2 oranges

125g ground hazelnuts

50g plain chocolate chips

For the candied hazelnuts

20 Whole hazelnuts

150g Caster sugar

150ml Water

For the topping

350ml Double cream

2 tablespoons icing sugar

2 tablespoons cointreau

1 orange

You can also add candied orange peel as a final touch

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 160c fan / 180c non-fan
  • Grease the tin and line with a circle of baking paper.
  • On a separate sheet of baking paper roll out the pastry then roll up the pastry and baking paper then unroll upside down on top of the tin. Peel off the baking paper and push the pastry into the sides of the tin.
  • Remove the excess pastry from the top of the tin and place the tin in a fridge to rest the pastry.
  • Using a mixer cream the  butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Stir in the beaten eggs, hazelnuts, plain flour and orange zest until evenly mixed.
  • Fold in 80g of the chocolate hazelnut spread and chocolate chips until just mixed.
  • Remove the pastry case from the fridge and spread the remaining chocolate hazelnut spread evenly on the base leaving a small gap around the edge.
  • Place the filling into a disposable piping bag and pipe evenly into the tart case before smoothing with a palate knife or the back of a spoon.
  • Place the tart in the lower half of the oven and bake for about 40 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.
  • Cool in the tin then remove and place on a serving plate.
  • To make the candied hazelnuts dissolve the sugar in the water and  bring to a rolling boil
  • Add the hazelnuts and boil for  20 minutes then drain them and separate them on grease proof paper to dry.
  • To make the topping whip the double cream and icing sugar together until soft peaks form.
  • Add the liqueur and whip until stiff peaks form.
  • Using a large star nozzel pipe the cream onto the cooled tart then add the hazelnuts and some slices of orange.

goodies2

 

 

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Simple Pastel Cake for Spring

easter bundt 1It’s been a while since I made a large cake, recently I’ve made a lot of cupcakes and biscuits but this week I decided I wanted to make a pretty springtime cake using one of the lovely silicone moulds sent to me by Mein Cupcake for review. You’d be forgiven for thinking they were bundt cake moulds however they are described as gugelhupf moulds. After a visit to wikipedia I can reliably state that gugelhupf is an alternative name for bundt cakes and is used in southern Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Anyway regardless of their name they look lovely and are a great way to make a stunning cake with very little effort.

The important thing when making this cake is to make sure the cake mould is completely greased with butter and then coated in flour before filling with the cake batter. Use greaseproof paper to spread the butter at first but then use clean fingers to make absolutely sure the butter is in all the nooks and crannies including the central pillar. Once the butter is done sprinkle a few spoonfuls of flour in and tilt and tap the mould until everywhere is covered in flour. The bright purple silicone of thee moulds makes it really easy to see any spots you’ve missed.

For neatness I use a piping bag to fill the mould with cake batter but pouring from a jug or spooning works also. Tap the filled mould gently on the worksurface a couple of times to remove any bubbles.

gugelhopf mouldsThe booklet which came with this £15.25  Contoura RBV Birkmann Gugelhupf Silicone Mould has recipes to use with the  mould, alternatively the recipe below is for vanilla cake. The booklet supplied used 5 or 6 eggs in it’s recipes, I found that a 6 egg mix filled the main part of the cake mould however I increased the mix to 8 eggs to include the detail at the base. I really love the end result with simple clean lines and minimal decoration. Mein Cupcake is a german store who are expanding into the uk and have loads of lovely products. In addition to this Contoura mould they have also sent me a Novel mould from the same range which I am looking forward to trying soon.

 

Ingredients:

500g Castor sugar

500g Unsalted butter (softened)

8 Large eggs (beaten)easter bundt collage

4 tea spoons Vanilla essence

500g Self raising flour

50ml (approx) Whole milk

250g Icing sugar

Splash of water

Gel food colourings (blue, yellow, green & pink)

Sprinkles to decorate

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 160c fan (180c standard).
  • In a freestanding mixer cream the butter and sugar until well combined. To soften the butter either leave at room temperature for an hour or in a place in a microwave safe bowl and soften in 5 second bursts stirring in between each burst.
  • Add the vanilla essence to the beaten eggs and mix thoroughly.
  • Add the egg mix to the buttercream a little at a time while mixing on a slow speed. Add a couple of spoonfuls of flour if necessary to help combine the mixture.
  • Add the remaining flour to the batter while continuing to mix on a slow speed. As soon as the flour is combined turn off the mixer and do the last stage by hand.
  • Slowly add whole milk to the mixture while stirring with a spatula or spoon. Add milk until the mixture easily falls from the spoon / spatula into the bowl. All flours have different moisture contents so you may need slightly more or less than the 50ml stated.
  • Grease the mould and dust with flour as described above.
  • Pipe or spoon the cake batter into the silicone mould and tap the full mould on the work surface to remove any air bubbes.
  • Place the filled mould onto a baking tray and bake for 1hr 15 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.
  • Do not turn out the cake immedieatly, leave to cool enough that the base cake be leveled with a bread knife before the cake is turned out.
  • Turn the cooled and leveled cake out onto a serving plate and decorate with water icing coloured pink, yellow, green and blue, the icing should be thick enough that pulling a spoon through it will leave a trail but runny enough to pipe. You do not need a piping nozzel for this simply place the water icing in a disposable food or piping bag and snip off the corner to make neat lines of icing.
  • Decorate with sprinkles and serve.

easter bundt 3

Link up your recipe of the weekCasa Costello

 

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